Quiet start in Spanish GP third practice

Quiet start in Spanish GP third practice

The weather took a downturn in Barcelona this morning, with cloudy skies over the Circuit de Catalunya and track temperature around 13C. Jordan's Takuma Sato was first man on track as a few went out to put in installation laps, including Michael...

The weather took a downturn in Barcelona this morning, with cloudy skies over the Circuit de Catalunya and track temperature around 13C. Jordan's Takuma Sato was first man on track as a few went out to put in installation laps, including Michael Schumacher -- an early start to the morning for the German. Within five minutes only the Jaguars of Eddie and Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa remained in the pits.

After the initial shakedown most cars returned to the garages; Ralf Schumacher's Williams suffered a small exhaust fire but it was minor.

Allan McNish.
Photo by Toyota Racing.
Allan McNish set the first time of the day in the Toyota followed by the Minardi of Alex Yoong. The usual suspects made the early running, Sato taking the top time until the session was stopped when Mark Webber's Minardi lost the front wing and shed debris on the track. He managed to keep it under control and make his way back to the pits as the marshals cleared the track and the session was restarted.

McNish came to a halt at the end of the pit lane with engine failure and ended his practice. Arrows' Enrique Bernoldi took over the top of the times, Jacques Villeneuve second fastest for BAR. Michelin runners were struggling yesterday with the new compound the French manufacturer bought to Barcelona and many drivers are saying the track is very abrasive. Michael Schumacher put in a 1:18.478 to go quickest, the first of the big guns to set a time. Ralf followed into second and Sauber's Nick Heidfeld into third. Jarno Trulli was the fastest Michelin runner in the Renault in sixth with twenty minutes to go.

Sato had a minor spin as Jenson Button and the McLarens of Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard joined the top six along with Sauber's Felipe Massa, the times started to change rapidly. Williams seemed better today, Juan Pablo Montoya in fifth as Rubens Barrichello took over the top of the times, four tenths faster than Ferrari team mate Michael. Yoong finally managed a lap inside the 107% of the fastest time so hopefully he'll do the same in this afternoon's qualifying session.

Ferrari remained dominant, Williams and McLaren were improved and Sauber continued to make their presence felt in another uneventful session. Final top six classification: Barrichello, M. Schumacher, Coulthard, R. Schumacher, Heidfeld, Massa.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Jenson Button , Enrique Bernoldi , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Mark Webber , David Coulthard , Jacques Villeneuve , Nick Heidfeld , Kimi Raikkonen , Allan McNish , Alex Yoong , Felipe Massa
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Toyota Racing , Minardi , Jordan